Lot 122, Box 53
Memorandum Prepared by the Inter-Divisional Area Committee on the Far East
Japan: Political Parties or Agencies
Are there any political parties, organizations, or groups in enemy country that should be dissolved? If so, which ones? (3–f)11 Are there any political agencies or political parties of the enemy country with whom we (the military administration) can deal to assist in the restoration of essential authority in Japan and in its subsequent administration? (3–e)11
The Imperial Rule Assistance Association and the Imperial Rule Assistance Political Society which were formed following the dissolution of the regularly constituted political parties of the Lower House in 1940 are roughly the Japanese equivalent of the German Nazi Party or the Italian Fascist Party. The IRAA has a number of affiliates. It will not be possible to draw up a complete list of these affiliates, which include youths’ and women’s organizations, but they are all directly or indirectly designed to meet Japanese war problems or to promote popular indoctrination policies.
Organized groups in the Japanese House of Peers are more in nature of clubs than of political parties; the House of Peers for the most part represents the conservative and cultured elements in Japan.
In addition to associations of war veterans and avowedly terroristic or nationalistic organizations (such as the well-known Black Dragon Society and the Nihon Butokukai which maintains gymnasia for training in the medieval military arts for the purpose of fostering the national militaristic cult) there are numerous quasi-public cultural and other organizations which have political significance as they are designed to be helpful to the Japanese war effort by means such as cementing Axis relations, propagating national Shintoism, spreading Japanese influence in the Far East, and popularizing official Japanese propaganda at home and abroad.
The Neighborhood Associations (known as Chokai or Tonarigumi) should not be regarded as political organizations. Although during the war they may have assumed functions of political significance [Page 1220]such as the enforcement of attendance at rallies, their new wartime tasks are in the main connected with the administration of rationing, the conduct of air-raid drills, and the like. Their normal peace-time work concerned matters such as garbage disposal, fire prevention and posting of night watchmen. These associations have complete lists of all residents within their jurisdictions.
- Existing political parties, which now consist of the IRAA (and its affiliates) and the IRAPS, should be dissolved. Club houses of organized groups in the Japanese House of Peers should be closed under prohibitions relative to public gatherings, but the groups themselves need not be dissolved.
- Associations of war veterans and known terroristic and nationalistic organizations should be dissolved.
- As it will be impossible to determine in advance which of numerous existing quasi-public cultural and other organizations are unobjectionable, it would be advisable immediately to close all organizations of this type under prohibitions relative to public gatherings. It would be politically advantageous if the military administration could conduct a study with a view to the disbandment of all such organizations which prove to be basically organs of Japanese nationalistic groups. Such a study might also bring to light a few organizations capable of being of service to the military administration.
- The Neighborhood Associations should not be regarded as political organizations and merit study by the military administration with a view to their utilization in matters such as the maintenance of order and the handling of problems of sanitation and relief.
- In view of the recommendation already made to disband existing political agencies and parties, there will be no such organization with which the military administration can deal unless some new organization or old parties in reorganized form should appear which would require reconsideration of that recommendation. The attitude to be taken by civil affairs officers towards so-called liberal political elements in Japan is a matter fraught with many pitfalls requiring special handling and if it is desired to advise the military authorities on this matter, further information will be provided at a later time. In any event, the military administration should be careful to avoid identification with any individual who has been closely associated with the formulation or execution of the policies of the militaristic rulers of Japan.
Prepared and reviewed by:
Inter-Divisional Area Committee on the Far East.
|JA:||BRJohansen (drafting officer)||JA:||ERDickover|